Turkey's Erdogan says 'first step' taken against ISIS

Turkish president's remarks came after warplanes struck ISIS targets across the border in Syria early following a wave of deadly violence in the country

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that "terrorist groups" must lay down weapons or face consequences and Friday's actions are the "first steps" in combating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Erdogan's remarks came after Turkish warplanes struck ISIS targets across the border in Syria early on Friday following a wave of deadly violence in the country.

Also on Friday, Turkey had arrested 251 people after launching simultaneous raids targeting ISIS and Kurdish militants in 13 provinces across the country, according to a statement issued by the Turkish prime minister’s office.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed that his country would continue operations against ISIS extremists and Kurdish militants and that "the operations that were started today are not a single event but a process," he told reporters in Ankara in televised comments.

Earlier in the day, Turkish air force jets launched their first strikes on ISIS positions in Syria, following a suicide bombing that killed 32 people in a Turkish town on the Syrian border.

Davutoglu said that the warplanes had been "100 percent" successful in eliminating their targets.

"We are observing activity in Syria and on the border at every moment. Turkey will show the strongest reaction to the slightest movement that threatens it."

"The operation against ISIS reached its target and will not stop," he added.

Davutoglu meanwhile dismissed suggestions that the Turkish government had warned the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad - which Ankara vehemently opposes - of the strikes.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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